The first ten or so of these photos are from when Jack drove into Prudhoe Bay June 6th. The rest are from when he was leaving Prudhoe about 4 hours later. The place is barely recognizable. There’s more info on the captions. Click on the first one and scroll to the right.
The original road goes straight – the detour is to the right.
This is wash out between the original road and the detour road.
You can see the delineator marking the right side of the old road, on the far left in the photo.
Now you can see new culverts and the orange fiber optic cable that ran along the old road, now exposed.
The window is up, sorry. The old road was right there where that big hole is.
Those are culverts (on the left) that were used to try to save the road, but they didn’t work.
They used super sacks (on the left, big white sand bags) to line the road while they filled it in. It was eaten away though as evidenced by the collapsed tundra. Water started eroding the tundra and exposed layers of ice.
This tundra was supported by ice that has been eroded/melted.
Looking south at the end of the detour.
Now Jack is heading out of Prudhoe with the detour to the left.
Motorcycle tourists are common even this early in the season.
The water from the Sag River eroded ice and material from under the road.
Here is the orange fiber optic cable that was buried next to the old road with a layer of ice behind it. Prehistoric ice, that is.
Layers of ice under the tundra.
On the left, the Sag River, the culprit.
The base of this building was underwater a short time ago.
Just snow that hasn’t melted yet.
Melt water that has frozen over night.
On the right, that gap between the road and the tundra used to be road.
The pieces of 4×4 at the ends of the crumpled culverts are used for marking the ends.
Gravel from the old road on top of tundra on top of ice. More on the next post.
From the Alaska Department of Transportation website:
The first vehicles traveling south on the Dalton Highway, Mile 413. ADOT&PF photo. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
(PRUDHOE BAY, Alaska) – The Dalton Highway has reopened to traffic after an 18-day closure caused by massive spring breakup flooding.
Traffic began moving on the road at 8 a.m. this morning. The highway is open to two-way traffic, but drivers will encounter a section with flaggers and pilot car at Mile 412-414. The road remains in rough condition through the flood zone at Miles 392-414, with multiple narrow sections and an uneven surface. Drivers are urged to travel slowly and watch for signs.
The reopening of the highway marks a milestone for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF), which has been handling the Dalton flood response since the initial overflow problems in March. The cost of this spring’s emergency response totals $15.5 million.
Flooding on the section of highway south of Deadhorse began in mid-March when overflow from the Sagavanirktok (Sag) River began spilling onto the highway. River aufeis accumulated in the bottom of the shallow and braided river and pushed the flowing water to the top, though temperatures in the area remained below freezing.
DEADHORSE — Unprecedented flooding continues to interfere with daily operations on the North Slope oil patch after surging waters wiped away swaths of the Dalton Highway and isolated a section of Deadhorse, the jumping-off point for the sprawling industrial region.
“This is just epic,” said Mike Coffey, commander of the unified incident command, a response team consisting of the state, the North Slope Borough and oil companies. “People who have been here for decades say they’ve never seen anything like it.”
The state has estimated the costs of the damage and repairs since March at $5.1 million. The federal government may pay for much of that, since the icing and flooding on the highway has been declared a disaster, said Coffey, the director of state transportation maintenance and operations.
Jack said “Holy Sh**!” when he looked at the Alaska Department of Transportation page today. Not because of the photos of the road flooding but when he saw this:
2015: Dalton Highway 401-414 Reconstruction, will start this summer and is a two year project. Construction contract award is $27 million. The scope of the project is to reconstruct the Dalton Highway from Mile Post 401-414, improvements include raising the grade seven feet, replacing culverts and surfacing the road.
2016: Dalton Highway 379-401 Reconstruction, scheduled for construction in 2016, estimated cost is $40-50 million. The scope of the project is to reconstruct the Dalton Highway from Mile Post 379-401, improvements including raising the grade seven feet, replacing culverts and surfacing the road.
Here are two aerial photos of the flooding, both from the Alaska DOT webpage. Click on the photos for more info on the captions.
On the left you can see the remnants of a berm that was created by excavators to hopefully hold the water back and direct it away from the road. But the water has now spilled over the road and broken through the berm. You can also see how the road is washing away. From AK DOT webpage.
On the top of the photo are more berms that were created to direct the water away from the road. From AK DOT webpage.
This is a video from trucker John Slater that shows how the Dalton looked last Saturday. The road is now closed because of the overflowing Sag River making it impassable once again. See prior posts for more info.
These photos are the last of the ones Jack took from when the road was in bad condition. It’s much improved now, to the point where Jack says there’s nothing to take photos of. When the melt starts up there though, who knows what will happen.
April 16th, Jack is heading out of Prudhoe. It was a cloudy morning.
The excavator is moving snow and slush away from the road to keep the water flowing to where they want it to go.
That’s all trucks waiting to get into Prudhoe.
This is the next day, heading back into Prudhoe.
These excavators are digging ditches and creating berms to hold the water back. Overflow from the Sag River has been harassing truckers and the State of Alaska for weeks before this.
Jack says this guy is scraping back the ice to find the road.
The delineator is about 5 feet tall so this shows how high the water got before it froze.
This photo is grainy, but you can see the left delineators showing a lot more than the others.